Stay In The Race With These Top Tips
The Obstacle Race is one of the toughest challenges you can put your body through.
You might run, hike, jump, crawl, lift, pull and whatever else the organisers decide to make the course more difficult.
One of the biggest problems faced by competitors is cramping.
Sometimes the cramps can be so severe it becomes debilitating.
Here are effective ways to prevent cramps during obstacle races…
When you are dehydrated, the fluid contained outside of the cell decreases.
This results in nerve endings getting discharged and initiates the muscle twitch that can lead to a cramp.
Proper hydration can reduce sudden shifts in fluids that can result in severe muscle cramping.
Instead of drinking commercially available electrolytes, hydrate using water or better still, coconut water.
Coconut water contains 294mg of potassium which is 5 times more than the most popular electrolyte drink and little natural sugar. Popular electrolyte drinks contain 5 times the amount of processed sugar.
Some studies have also shown that proper supplementation can prevent or at least delay the onset of muscle cramps.
Among the popularly recommended ones are:
- Magnesium – 400mg twice a day
- Vitamin B – 250mcg
- Vitamin D – 600IU
- Calcium – 1gm
- Zinc – 13mg
3. Pre-Race Preparation
How you prepare before a race may also reduce the risk of cramping. There is a 3-step process in getting ready for the Obstacle Race:
Warm Up – It’s normal to get nervous or anxious before a big race. But these could get your muscles to tighten up.
Nerves can also dehydrate you. Loosen up by getting your body properly warmed. You can do this by some light jogging until you build up some sweat.
Prime Up Your Muscles – The muscles that usually cramp up during the race are the calves, hips, ankle area, thighs, hamstrings, buttocks and the core section.
You can prime up these muscles by doing a quick interval. Perform each of these exercises 10 reps for 3 intervals:
- Air Squats
- Reverse Lunges
- Hip Thrust
- Heel Touches
- Bird Dog
If you want to increase the level of elastic energy, use a resistance band below your knees during Air Squats.
This will increase the level of stretch on your hips, thighs and glutes.
Dynamic Stretching – This is a great way of activating your muscles, joints and ligaments for the run.
A few dynamic stretching exercises you could do are:
- Arm Circles x 20 reps forward and backward
- Knee Rotations x 20 reps inward and outward
- Leg Swings x 20 reps to the side, back and front
- Inchworm x 10 reps
Lastly, always keep yourself warmed up and hydrated while waiting for the race to start. Sometimes delays happen.
You need to make sure your body is not tight and that you are not thirsty.
With an activity as grueling as an Obstacle Race, it will be inevitable for you to experience some cramping.
But by following these suggestions, you may yet finish the race unscathed and none the worse for wear.